There have been a couple of college coaches who have made a successful transition from a college program into the NFL, two people that come to mind are Barry Switzer with the Dallas Cowboys and more recently Jim Harbough with San Francisco. Switzer did have a dismal start, but turned it around into a three Super Bowl victories and Harbough has re-energized the 49ers fan base and brought the team to the playoffs in his two years, reaching the NFC Conference Championship last year and are the number two seed this year.
There are also a number of situations with highly successful college coaches jumping to the NFL with their mind set on doing things the way they want and thinking they would be the one and only ending terribly, see Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban as examples of these failures. Both felt there systems would work with whatever personnel they had and if it did not, they "requested" new personnel to make it work. After this did not work and the records went downhill, they ran back to the NCAA and plum jobs at South Carolina and Alabama.
Chip Kelly has to examine these examples of both approaches as he goes through interviews for open NFL coaching positions.
He also needs to examine what he has in Eugene with the Ducks. There are very few opportunities as perfect as he has there. He realized that last year when he walked away from Tampa Bay at the eleventh hour.
Just look at the differences between coaching at Oregon and going to any NFL coaching situation
He has the ability to recruit his players, not navigate the draft and free agency, not to mention the salary cap
He has a University that will pay him anything to stay, as he also gets an extension each year with some kind of pay increase.
He has power over the program’s direction and coaching, where in the NFL, he will have to work with a GM and the restrictions mentioned above on the draft, free agency and the salary cap
He has one of the best facilities in the country, which is always a great marketing chip for recruits, not to mention the biggest alumni backer of the program in Nike’s CEO Phil Knight and his constant donations of equipment, uniforms and exposure
His ability to get the quarterback for high flying spread offense, where there are only a few teams with the personnel to run this in the pros, which are none of the openings currently available.
He also has his unfinished business in winning a National Championship, which only Harbough above did not do.
There are certainly more examples people can come up with why staying is the better choice for Kelly, which outweigh the reasons to move on.
The only things I can think of for going to the NFL
Pride showing he is ready for the next level
Also seeing how his system translated into the NFL
The feeling he had accomplished everything at the college level
The possibility of more money ( I doubt this, but you never know with some of these franchises’ desperation for being relevant again)
The one thing he does need to do, is make the decision very soon as his uncertainty is hurting the recruiting efforts of the school as many 5 and 4 start players who had Oregon as a finalist are choosing other schools, which is common when there could be a coaching change.
I maybe some what selfish in my analysis here because I enjoy his style of play, but the program was good before and with the announcement/promotion of Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich to Head Coach if Kelly leaves, who has been a Kelly’s right side running the offense these past few years will keep the tradition of the high octane offense moving along.
So the only question left is which direction are you going Chip?